Tag Archives: Serenity Williams

New KIPP 5th-grader is all smiles

Serenity with Mary McClure on Cinco de Mayo.  Photo: Footprints

Serenity Williams has something new to be excited about.

She has been growing up across the street from the Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, and has helped out in the garden so much she won a national award for it.

This fall, Serenity will be entering a new phase of life: the 5th grade. 

If you ask her what she is excited about these days, as Footprints did when Serenity participated in a Quesada Gardens discussion group about neighborhood transformation on July 11th, she will tell you “I’m going to KIPP!”

She may still be helping neighbors with gardening.  But this precocious Bayview youngster has her sites set on other educational opportunities too.  Lucky for her, KIPP Bay Area schools are ranked in the top 10% of all public schools in California.  Over 90% of KIPP high school graduates matriculated to college this year.

KIPP Bayview still has spots available.  Email Mary Thomas, or call 510.910.7611.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Images from Cinco de Mayo in Bayview

Anthony Terrazas reflected on his experience with Quesada Gardens and his family’s journey in the United States
Diego Perez (right) keeps watch over his nephew … not an easy job with this active toddler.
Dylan Antunovich discovered how different strawberries from the garden taste than store-bought.
James Elizarraz took many of the pictures shown here.  He was part of a USF business class service-learning group.
Alejandro Murguia and Magaly Fernandez talk with Jeffrey Betcher in the Bridgeview Garden.
John Davila adjusts daughter Mia’s fashionable and sun-sensible hat.
Serenity shows off a Quesada Gardens T-shirt.
USF service-learners were in full force.  In addition to those mentioned elsewhere, student groups included Daria Clecicov, Adriana Goricelaya, Fegrong Bian, Zibo Guo, Thomas Munka, Yunzhu Xu, Nicolas Smith, Alex Kaye, and Jiaxi Wang.  USF student liaison (ACE) Brandon Oldham led much of the work throughout the semester as he had done for several years.
If there had been a prize for the most photographed event participant, it would have gone to Zack Antunovich.
Vidal Perez points out parts of the garden that he built with family and friends.  In many ways, Vidal was the spirit of the Cinco de Mayo event.
Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Cinco de Mayo at Bridgeview warms hearts

Alejandro Murguia share poetry at Bayview’s Bridgeview Garden.

Though it came a day early, a Cinco de Mayo celebration in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood was an extraordinary experience for neighbors near the Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden, service-learning students from University of San Francisco, and friends of the showcase garden project.

Joel and Mary McClure, project leaders for the Bridgeview Garden, got the event planning in motion weeks earlier, along with Vidal Perez who did most of the work on the stunning garden entryway.  Vidal supplied music for the event, and brought a hearty soup to go with fresh local fruits and a sweet potato pie from the kitchen of Quesada Gardens Co-Founder Corine Pettus.

Under blue skies and overlooking a skyline that puts the “view” in Bayview, Alejandro Murguia delivered a poem written for the occasion.  Alejandro and his partner Magaly Fernandez have been supporters of the Quesada Gardens Initiative and the showcase Bridgeview project for years, and live across the street from the Bridgeview Garden.

Alejandro is not only a neighbor, but also a National Book Award-winner and San Francisco’s Poet Laurette.  In his poem, palm trees tip their hats as Bayview’s past, present and future swirl about them.

The event also served as a celebration of the accomplishments of a group of service-learning students from University of San Francisco.  Over the past several months, these young people have done gardening in several gardens, staffed five community events, and installed a new sign in the Quesada Garden.

Robyn Brault and Anthony Terrazas shared moving reflections about their experience with Quesada Gardens.  Anthony introduced his mother to the group, and read an essay about his family’s immigrant journey and his own personal part of it.

Serenity, who won a national youth gardening award at Quesada Gardens GRO1000 event last year, shared her essay about the Bridgeview Garden where she and brother Legend and mom Quay Markham have connected with their neighbors.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Serenity Williams at Bridgeview

Serenity Williams with snapdragons. 
Photo: Rika Kruse

The entire Quesada Gardens community is proud of Serenity Williams who was presented with a National Gardening Association youth award at a Quesada Gardens Initiative event with Mayor Edwin Lee in the Spring of 2012.

Serenity Williams wrote an essay describing her experiences in the Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden, an award-winning green space that is part of Quesada Gardens Initiative’s network of projects. In her essay, she talked about the importance of healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables, and giving food to people who don’t have much.

Serenity has spent about an hour and half in her community garden every week, planting and watering. Her efforts have not only helped in caring for the environment, but have delighted her neighbors who love working alongside her.


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Serenity Williams essay which helped her win
a national award.


This profile is part of a series produced by Calvin Tanod through a service-learning partnership with University of San Francisco McCarthy Center and Quesada Gardens Initiative.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Young gardener writes about her community

The entire Quesada Gardens community is so proud of Serenity Williams who was presented with a National Gardening Association youth award at the Quesada Gardens Initiative event with Mayor Lee on March 13th.  Serenity gardens at the Bridgeview Teaching & Learning Garden, and wrote this essay:

My Community Garden
by Serenity Williams

February 2012

In my neighborhood garden we are planting food for everyone in our community.  The garden is colorful and has healthy snacks.  The healthy snacks are fruits and vegetables like strawberries, squash, cilantro, mint and apples.  The goal of our garden is to be able to give food to people who don’t have much or just to give good healthy food.  This garden I help in is shaped like a rectangle and its right outside of my home.  Inside our garden there are stones to walk on and different levels.The role I play in the garden project is planting seeds and watering everything in our garden to keep the plants healthy. I spend an hour and a half in our community garden every week.  The good things that our garden has done are that it has grown good healthy food that we have eaten.

Environmental education is important because natural food is really good for the body instead of candy.  My efforts helped to care for the environment because people can just walk to our garden instead of using gas to go to the grocery store and spend money.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Quesada Gardens gets national attention

Mayor Lee“The Quesada Gardens Initiative has helped to transform the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee at a special dedication event on Tuesday, March 13th in the heart of Bayview.

The mayor visited as part of GRO1000 San Francisco, a national initiative that made awards to five U.S. cities.

Representatives from The U.S. Conference of Mayors, ScottsMiracle-Gro, Plant A Row for the Hungry, the National Gardening Association, the Garden Writers Association and Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens also spoke. Locals Annette Smith, QGI founding gardener) and Jeffrey Betcher, QGI organizer, represented Quesada Gardens Initiative, welcoming the Mayor and other guests.

The ceremony included the presentation of a National Gardening Association youth gardening award to Serenity Williams who lives on Bridgeview Drive and gardens in the Bridgeview Teaching & Learning Garden.

Mary and Serenity
Serenity Williams smiles with neighbor Mary McClure who works (and plays) with her at the Bridgeview Garden.
Beginning at 7am, about 50 Quesada Gardens residents and volunteers from ScottsMiracle-Gro and Lowes weeded, pruned and spread mulch throughout the showcase Quesada Garden.

The San Francisco GRO1000 event is the first of several public installation events being held in the U.S., Canada and Europe in 2012. 

More national attention: New York Times profiles 5800 Third

A March 13th NYTimes article by Barbara Tannenbaum acknowledges that the economic boom years stopped just short of Bayview Hunters Point.  The article also sites mixed use development, specifically 5800 Third, as an indication that better days have finally arrived.

  
SF Housing Director Olson Lee is quoted as saying, “This development proves that economic diversity and market-rate housing can work in the Bayview.”
   
See the article online

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Young volunteers at Bridgeview Garden



The next generation of community-minded residents is finding the gardens and art projects in the heart of Bayview, and contributing youthful energy to the work. These images by Rika Kruze show work happening at the Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden, including finishing touches on a unique bench, crafted from wood donated by neighbors, that artist Mark Baugh-Sasaki (pictured, bottom) has created.

Rika notes that 7 year old Serenity (pictured, middle) loves the garden across the street from her home. (“I taught her that Snapdragons snap open when you squeeze them.”) She also observes that Hean He (pictured top), a frequent volunteer at the Quesada Gardens Initiative, and a Balboa High School student, “is an awesome worker.”

Stop by the Bridgeview Garden soon, see all the new work, and share some love with the volunteers you are likely to see there.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org